Category Archives: Waysides

Dismal Nitch on the Columbia River – new wayside paintings

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Not exactly nature art, but still meaningful to me. Lewis and Clark National Park is at the mouth of the  Columbia River. Part of the park sticks out into the river and was the location (maybe) where the Corp of Discovery stayed for a week, wet, hungry and in a dangerous situation. My task here is to show the event in six paintings that will be placed along this walkway. Somewhat serendipitously, we were here a year ago goofing around and a couple of weeks later this bid to fill up these empty panels appears. I was the only one involved that had actually been to the site.

The most meaningful thing, at least to me is that for part of the research, I used my mom’s book “George Shannon, Young Explorer with Lewis and Clark”, Virginia S. Eifert, Dodd Mead, New York, 1963. What a kick, painting the exact same thing she wrote about 55  years ago, and using her research for my paintings. Keeping it in the family!

Panel bases are already in and waiting. Below is an amazing bronze, probably worth more than our house, that sits right at the end of the loop trail.

Nancy beside the big Corps of Discovery bronze with Dismal Nitch cove in the background.
A section of the bronze, a lost wax casting of the highest quality. I know, I’ve helped do this stuff.

My paintings will be scattered along the shore and tell the story of salmon, Indians, Lewis and Clark and Jefferson’s vision of westward expansion. Of course, I’m sprinkling nature into all of them.

I like to compare Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery with the moon landings of the 60’s. It was the same, really, for these guys to head off into nowhere, without maps, and find a way across the continent in a government-sponsored expedition.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Discovery Bay wayside panels installation

A New Years Eve walk on a brand new section of the nearby Olympic Discovery Trail beside Discovery Bay. But what’s this? A couple of those outdoor wayside panels with some art by that Eifert-dude, so new they look startlingly clean without gull poop. Still, I thought they looked good, properly placed and I’m proud to have been involved in this. Funded by almost 2 dozen groups over several years of work, it’s closing in on completion.

How clean IS this new asphalt? Not even  a boot mark on it. The trail follows (more or less) the old railroad grade and is part of the 126-mile Olympic Discovery Trail from Puget Sound to the Pacific. There were lots of partner organizations involved in this new section, but the lead was the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, with offices not a mile from our studio. It’s not often I get to do this stuff so close to my home and rarely do we get to see it fresh and newly installed.

The panel below doesn’t have art but is more about the physical process that removed 1900 tons of concrete and junk, hauled off 425 tons of contaminated soil and restored 3200 lineal feet of shoreline. It wasn’t just about building the trail, but restoring salmon habitat – which is a lot of what I painted in 2017. I can count a dozen recent paintings about habitat restoration, and I feel I’ve contributed in some small way to helping put things right in these projects.

But there’s another small story here I want to tell. In 1972, I was looking for a place to open a little craft gallery. I was young, making crafts and little paintings, and driving up and down the Pacific Coast trying to find a cheap place that fit my passion for nature. I needed someplace to just learn to be an artist, and I found this cove extraordinarily beautiful. I still do. I eventually ended up in Ferndale, California on the redwood coast for awhile, but this place beside Discovery Bay briefly grabbed my heart.

Just over the top of this photo is a little strip of land where once sat a small, run-down sawmill, and it was for rent in 1972. I sat there for two days thinking about how beautiful it was, how hopeless the idea was, how I was probably crazy to even try to figure out how to make it work. Wind blew through the broken windows, otters lived underneath it and the building was just too far off nearby Highway 101. So I headed south.

And now, over 45 years later, here’s my art installed at the same place! Life is short, but it sure can be wide and it loops back.

Thanks for reading this week – and the entire year for that matter.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Aztec Ruins National Monument – Along the Animas River

This week I moved on from this completed painting for Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico. Projects are piling up here. Below is the sketch I posted some weeks back, and it’s a great example of things changing as they go along. The Park Service, of course, hates change, but, I don’t know, it just happened. The entire thing got reversed, river got bigger (like it is), cottonwoods got smaller (like they are), the chickadee changed into a turkey. It’s just the process of creating something from nothing but a blank piece of paper.

Some things remained, especially this little desert cottontail that I followed around the native plant garden near the visitor center. I could have petted it if I’d had a Cheeto to use as a bribe.

Desert Cottontail at Aztec Ruins

And here’s the river in summer when I was there. A green ribbon of life. Amazingly, even though the bottomland is packed with people, the original ecosystem is almost perfectly intact, right down to the cougars and bobcats. This will become a wayside exhibit panel with some text added to explain all this. It turned out pretty well, I think.

Again, here’s the link to the NEW new puzzle I talked about last week.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Wildlife of the Old-growth – a new jigsaw puzzle for Christmas

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Finally, a new interpretive jigsaw puzzle is here, all 43 cases in our little warehouse. This is a really fun puzzle, I think, with lots of hidden critters, a story being told and lots of details on the box. As usual, we put the full story on the box back, an interpretive essay and key. Few commercial puzzles have all this stuff on the box, but I never thought it should JUST be a puzzle, but more an experience. If you’d like to purchase it, along with the others we current have in stock, click  here. If you buy more than one, it helps our freight costs – these are heavy.

This painting was a commission, along with a bunch of others, for the Whidbey – Camano Island Land Trust, just to the north of us here in Port Townsend Washington. High on a bluff above the ocean, Admiralty Inlet Natural Area is a preserve with ancient trees and a restored natural prairie. This is also part of the much bigger and very beautiful Ebey’s Landing National Historical ReserveThe high winds here above the Strait of Juan de Fuca have made this a battered forest, creating strange gnarly old-growth Douglas-fir. It’s a fitting place to paint a jigsaw puzzle.

Again, here’s the link to purchase the new puzzle.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Mules and Horses – Old Santa Fe Trail painting for the National Trails System

This will enlarge by clicking it.

While the Hoh Visitor Center mural is proceeding, I did this “little” wayside painting for the Old Santa Fe Trail with the National Park Service. A fun and very different sort of project for me.

Last year I did this sketch for Aztec Ruins National Monument, but  it wasn’t used. They wanted something less ‘social’. This is Armijo’s Expedition in 1829, a group that went from Santa Fe to California and back, proving this route could be used for trade. In the painting, they’re crossing the Animas River in New Mexico. They’ve had a difficult day herding 150 horses and mules, and the group is setting up camp for the night, beans are in the pot, gear is being unloaded.

To do this painting, I went over to Olympic National  Park and photographed the two ladies that take care of the 34 mules the park uses for backcountry use. Amazing afternoon! Here are Heidi and Jill, seasonal drovers who push those big mules around like they were goats, and you can see I turned them into Spanish young men in the painting. Others models included my neighbor, Michael, who is the cook. Jill and Heidi are in other poses, as well as Henry the mule.

And this is what it’s all about for me. I learned a LOT on this project, had a great time figuring out how this might look, how the gear would look in 1829. It took over a year from field trip to Aztec Ruins to painting completion. It went from an installation at Aztec to several other installations along the Santa Fe Trail, and I really know about pack mules.

And here’s the Animas River at Aztec New Mexico where the scene is located. It looks exactly the same as it probably did 188 years ago.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Salmon Cascades wayside painting for Olympic National Park

Finally finished this nice little painting for Olympic NP. Spawning coho salmon are here and we’ve seen them several times milling around waiting to jump.

Lots going on here in the paint department, but this one was truly fun for me. Below is the concept sketch.

And here’s the real place. The wayside panel will be located just at the top of the cascades on an overlook. As I posted before, I dropped my GoPro camera into the water here and found out the bottom was full of colorful gem-like rocks, tainted organic sierra on the upstream side. Hummm?

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

 

Salmon Cascades – A New Project in the Works

Salmon Cascades in Olympic National Park. Not a big drop, but always beautiful. Stuff goes on here!

Progress shot at the moment. More soon.

Olympic National Park has always been very supportive of my painting-mania, and this project has been years in the making. We both just had to wait for funding to appear, and it finally did.

I already have 24 of my paintings along the Sol Duc Road in various wayside exhibits and panels – drive along, pull over and see art! But this project required my GoPro underwater camera for references. I have always wondered what this place looks like to a salmon, so here it is:

And so the sketch shows the underwater stream bed just below the cascades and rocky walls, and of course, the painting will have a run of Sol Duc coho, females being herded by the big guys, all waiting for strength to attempt a jump in their upstream journey. We’ve seen this ourselves and I’ve stood just to the left watching them circle.

And then I put this into the same design template as some of the other panels up and down the road. Janet at the park will write the text and she’s always so brilliant at this. We both came up with the title completely independent of each other.

Stay tuned, more to come on this probably next week.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

A Tide Pool Wayside Panel

You may have noticed a serious absence of my blogs for the past month. Just too depressed about the my country sliding into hatred and my despair about it to write anything – but also this is the busiest period for my painting hand in decades. It’s all good, the painting part, but the level of art flowing out of my studio is somewhat frightening. I’ve learned to speed it up, fewer layers, less thinking about it – just go at it. All this is mostly National Park Service and WA State Parks stuff, so that means hurry up and then wait, wait for approval to proceed. At this moment, I have 43, yes, 43 sketches waiting to proceed to paint! Not to fret, there are dozens waiting in line for me to begin.

This one of the tide pools is for Washington Park in Anacortes, Washington. An interesting and fun painting, and, hopefully, make you read the rules about tromping all over the critters.

All those logos at the bottom will change when I get them, but the rest is fairly together. Several of these will be installed just where you hit the tidepools – sort of a welcoming sign to respect your neighbors.

Don’t you wish the same sort of thing was happening elsewhere?

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Discovery Bay – Snow Creek wayside panel

Some small changes but I think this is finished. At least the art is. This panel will live on the east side of Discovery Bay, just a few miles from Port Townsend. The North Olympic Salmon Coalition recently rearranged a lot of land here, took out a railroad bridge or two and moved a mountain of fill dirt. Two streams, Snow Creek and Salmon Creek now run free into the bay in a textbook example of how to successfully restore salmon habitat. I was proud to be a part of it.

Here’s the detail on the left side. If you check the photo below, you’ll see there was a very pronounced umber feel to the color, a Van Dyke brown, and even thou it was winter and the painting is summer, I used it. This also seemed to be the color of the water here, hinting at all the organic nutrients coming down this stream.

This is one of four of these I’ve been working on for this restoration group, and I really appreciated the freedom and also professionalism everyone has in the group, especially Dave Shreffler, who did the interpretive writing. Very tasty twists of phrases that looks easy but isn’t. This makes the 9th underwater restoration painting I’ve done in the Pacific Northwest, just in time for the next one coming soon. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Discovery Bay – Maynard Beach painting completed

These should enlarge if you click them.

Holidays or not, I spent some time this week finishing up this part of the North Olympic Salmon Coalition project for Discovery Bay. Last week I posted a partially finished painting of this and now here’s the final. I cut a piece out of the right corner, below, so you can see some details.

I’ve been working on various ways to show both above water and below water situations in the restoration paintings. This one is, if my count is right, the ninth painting showing this odd situation, and I really fudged reality in this one. If you look at the center lower part you’ll see the shoreline comes across into the water, but the scene is deep underwater. The water line above it is about as far off from reality as it gets – but it seems to work somehow.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.